By now, most of us know enough to at least acknowledge that self-care is important for our overall wellbeing. However, most of us still have a tendency to cut corners when it comes to doing things that are important for our mental and physical health. Most of the time, we are simply too busy with work, school, and taking care of others to really take care of ourselves. However, there are some things that are simply too important to pass up even if your schedule is cramped.
Health authorities recommend drinking at least half a gallon of water a day. And, while most of us know this, we tend to substitute water with beverages such as coffee, wine, soda, or even energy drinks. However, a lot of our “fun” water substitutes can lead to dehydration or are loaded with unhealthy sugars.
Drinking water is easy, too. Simply bring a canister along with you during the day and make sure to take a few sips between your meals and other drinks. If you don’t like the taste of water, you can add some fruit such as lemon or strawberries to the bottom of your canister.
Why It’s Essential: The human body can’t function properly without water. If you’re not drinking enough, you probably aren’t feeling your best. Moreover, the water that you drink plays a key role in hydrating your skin and hair.
Learn to Say “No” To Extra Work
People who are busy often get used to juggling a lot and are often more likely to take on additional, if minor, tasks and responsibilities. After all, what’s one more thing on the to-do list? Unfortunately, these extra tasks often tend to accumulate and cut into self-care time. If you’re being asked to do something by a friend or family member and you’re already busy, it is all right to decline or postpone. Even with work, in many cases, your boss will understand if you can’t handle the extra project because your schedule is already full.
Why It’s Essential: Instead of putting extra effort and energy into yet another task, use that time to relax and unwind.
Find Your Version of Down Time
There is no cookie-cutter, undisputed model of self-care. For some people, this means taking a relaxing bath and spending time with their pets, for others it may mean taking a dance class or even watching old favorites on Netflix. This may also involve taking good care of yourself by finding essentials such as a good mattress and pillows, or a blender if you love juice, that make you comfortable while also supporting your routine.
Why It’s Essential: Having something that you look forward to at the end of the day, or the week, will give you the motivation to get through your long to-do list. Making sure that you are well taken care of helps ensure that you can tackle your busy lifestyle.
At the end of the day, or after a rough meeting, take a moment to recount things that have gone right. This can be done in the form of a self-hug, positive self-talk or even a mental high-five.
Why It’s Essential: It’s easy to focus on the bad parts of a rough day or the unfinished items on your to-do list. However, if you allow yourself to focus only on the negative, you’re basically stressing yourself out. Acknowledging the positive will help you keep calm, feel more at ease and tackle whatever comes next.
Try Some Aromatherapy
Certain scents like lavender and peppermint can be both relaxing and refreshing. You have the option of investing in a diffuser or mist humidifier. You can even mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a misting bottle and spray some in your room or office.
Why It’s Essential: According to science, smell is closely linked with memory. Just catching a whiff of a favorite scent can bring about happy memories and help you relax.
When making your plans or taking on projects, set a realistic schedule that accounts for time off or minor emergencies. After all, we can’t always predict how our week, or even our day, will turn out. If you are taking projects with deadlines, make sure you aren’t taking on too many. This applies to work as well as family.
Why It’s Essential: Most of us think that we can get a lot done in a short amount of time. While this could be true, constantly hustling often leads to exhaustion, stress, and even poorer performance.
Speak with a Therapist
Therapy is becoming more commonplace than ever- especially among busy professionals. Scheduling just an hour a week with a therapist can help you work through stress, emotional issues, and bad habits. There’s even the option to reach out to someone online or on your phone.
Why It’s Essential: If you don’t take time for your mental health, your overall performance may suffer. This may manifest at work or interactions with family. Moreover, poor mental health can lead to physical problems
Automate and Delegate
There are a lot of great apps and tools out there to help you deal with a busy schedule and lighten your load. Some apps set meetings while others simply automatically enter things into your calendar to save you precious minutes. Take a moment to explore what can be done with technology.
It is also important to delegate some of your tasks. While not everything can be delegated, having even a little help can make a big difference. For instance, if you find that you’re doing a lot for a work project, encourage a junior member to get involved- it’s a great learning opportunity for them and allows you to focus on the more important things.
Why It’s Essential: You simply can’t do everything yourself and if you try, you probably won’t be able to do everything well. So, save yourself the stress and give someone else a shot at chipping in.
Schedule Days Off
It is important to schedule at least one day a week where you don’t have to work. Once in a while, this day can be used to catch up on work when you are behind but, most of the time, this day should be used for relaxation, doing something you like, and seeing friends and family.
Why It’s Essential: Working seven days a week is not only unhealthy but can also cut you off from loved ones and cause burnout. Even if you love your job, taking time away gives you a chance to recharge and gain some mental clarity. It can even help you tackle tough problems.